1.200 participants for 56 short games in two days! The simulation game “Is this far-right? Enmity at the heart of society” at German Protestant Kirchentag 2013 in Hamburg broke all records – at least our own. Originally, the programme was designed for 500 participants. But 1200 people showed up – a 140% increase!
Developing a simulation game on far-right extremism for the Kirchentag was a difficult task: Who would want to play a Nazi? So how to develop a simulation game about far-right extremism that features no far-right extremists? And all in a period of 2 hours max, for around 120 participants…
We finally came up with the following scenario: during a fictional church community’s annual summer fete, some people claim to have observed far-right extremist behaviour. A critical article in the local newspaper prompts a special meeting of the local church council.
Apart from the chairman and the vicar, there are five more groups present. Some are friends of those who are said to have displayed right-wing extremist behaviour, and they see nothing wrong with a return to old Germanic rites. Others do see far-right tendencies but want to convince these people of the values of the gospel. Yet another handful of people form a kind of church-internal antifascist group and are demanding clear protest measures from the parish. Via round tables with around 20 participants each, the church council decides how to proceed in the matter.
The success of the game was overwhelming: Word at the Kirchentag spread and the demand was such that we were forced to improvise. The time plan spontaneously went out of the window, we printed out a lot more game sheets, and after two days and a total of 56 runs, a whopping 1200 people had taken part. Record numbers for planpolitik! There was considerable response from the media, too: German national newspapers such as taz and Tagesspiegel ran features on the game, as did Deutschlandradio Kultur.
The game continues to be used by the Church in their work with young people and adults. The German version of the game can be downloaded free of charge.
Facts + Figures
Participants of German Protestant Kirchentag between 10 and 90 years of age
- Assess far-right thinking within church communities by engaging with different positions on the matter.
German Protestant Kirchentag (DEKT)
In the media
Evangelischer Pressedienst epd (02.05.2013): Kirchentag: Spannendes Planspiel zum Thema Rechtsextremismus. Bei Neonazis hört die Nächstenliebe auf (in German)
Deutschlandradio, (03.05.2013): Postcast zum Kirchentag (in German)
Der Tagesspiegel (04.05.2013): „Ist das schon rechts?“ Extremismus im Alltag – ein Planspiel (in German)
die tageszeitung (04.05.2013): Nazi-Planspiel beim Kirchentag. Nichts als harmlose Runen? (in German)